Real Madrid's rebuild continues
Real Madrid are hoping to offload a number of first-team players this summer in order to relieve their bloated wage bill and raise funds to sign the club's number one transfer target: Kylian Mbappe. The Athletic report that Los Blancos would ideally shift expensive flops Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard, who make up 13% of the club's salary budget. Elsewhere, the likes of Isco, Luka Jovic, Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos could all be sold. The Athletic also reveal that the Spanish club's officials are hoping that Barcelona's dire finances could push free agent Lionel Messi to sign for Paris Saint-Germain and free up the path for Real Madrid to sign Mbappe this summer.
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Paper Round's view: The problem with trying to get rid of players like Bale and Hazard is that there isn't a market for them due to their jaw-dropping contracts. Real Madrid will know this already as they reportedly paid half of Bale's £600,000-a-week wages while he spent last season on loan at his former club Tottenham Hotspur. The other players mentioned might be easier to sell. However, they could still be on huge contracts and the transfer market is proving to be a tough place in a post-Covid-19 world. Mbappe has less than a year remaining on his deal at PSG - so if Real can't sign him this summer, they could potentially poach him for free in 2022.
Man Utd continue to attack the transfer market
Manchester United will continue to take the transfer market by storm, with the Telegraph reporting that the Premier League club are looking to follow up the £73-million Jadon Sancho transfer with potential moves for Kieran Trippier, Eduardo Camavinga and Raphael Varane. The Telegraph reveal that Trippier is "desperate" for a return to England, but Atletico Madrid are set to demand £30 million for the 30-year-old right-back. Elsewhere, Varane and Camavinga both have just one year remaining on their contracts at Real Madrid and Rennes respectively. However, there are worries that Camavinga could prefer a move to La Liga, amid interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Paper Round's view: It seems like Manchester United are really ready to take the Premier League title challenge to the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. We saw Chelsea complete a number of smart - and expensive - transfers last summer and they were rewarded with the Champions League. If the Red Devils added Trippier, Camavinga and Varane - as well as Sancho - they could definitely compete for a major piece of silverware at the end of the season. The only thing that might be holding them back is their manager...
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Chelsea to use Abraham in Haaland offer
Chelsea are ready to go all in for Erling Haaland this summer after Thomas Tuchel made the wonderkid his "top transfer target". The Mirror report that the Blues are ready to reject any interest from the Premier League for back-up striker Tammy Abraham in order to use the 23-year-old as a makeweight in a bid for Haaland. Chelsea value Abraham at £50 million, while Borussia Dortmund have slapped a £150 million price tag on their prized asset Haaland. The Premier League club are happy to pay a "premium" fee for the 20-year-old to beat any competition to his signature this summer before his reported release clause activates in 2022.
Paper Round's view: £100 million and Abraham in exchange for Haaland? It's not an awful bid but it's not great. Mainly because Abraham isn't worth anywhere near £50 million. Dortmund have a decision to make. Do they reject a "premium" transfer offer this summer... or do they lose Haaland for a reported £64 million in a year's time? Dortmund won't want to sell Haaland after Jadon Sancho's imminent exit to Manchester United so that might make their decision for them. The Norwegian wonderkid has the elite goalscoring ability to fire the Germans back into the Champions League for another season, which would help ease the financial loss next summer.
West Ham desperate to keep Rice
West Ham United are hoping that Felipe Anderson's imminent exit could help keep Declan Rice in east London. The Brazilian winger is closing in on a return to Lazio for £5 million, just three years after the Hammers signed him for a then-club record £42 million. However, it's not all bad news for West Ham fans as the Sun report that the club are planning to use some of the freed up wage budget to reward Rice with a bumper new contract. The England international has attracted attention from Manchester United and Chelsea, but the Sun state that "there is hope a deal can be struck soon" to tie Rice down at the London Stadium.
Paper Round's view: Rice followed up his magnificent 2020-21 season at West Ham with an incredible summer with England, where he played a vital role in the Three Lions' journey to the Euro 2020 final. No wonder West Ham are so keen to tie him down to a new contract. Chelsea and Manchester United have been sniffing around Rice for a couple of years now - but he has since taken his game to a whole new level. The 22-year-old is vice-captain at the club he has been at since the age of 14 years old and his future is bright. There's plenty of time to join a bigger club.
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